Today in Cleantech

What’s going on with the smart grid in Europe? About €5.5 billion ($7.7 billion) worth of projects, according to this new report on the European smart grid scene from the JRC Smart Electricity Systems, the European Commission’s smart grid research group. Sounds like a lot, but according to the report, it’s only a fraction of the anticipated €56 billion ($78.4 billion) to come across Europe by 2020. So where is Europe ahead of the rest of the world, and where is it lagging? Well, much like the U.S. smart grid buildout, most of Europe’s smart grid investments to date are in smart meters, with less going to distribution grid managements systems and automation. The report also cited a relatively small investment in R&D projects, “suggesting the need to invest in larger scale demonstration  projects to gain a better knowledge of the functioning and impacts of some innovative solutions.” In another echo of U.S. smart grid discussions, the report cites a pressing need to get consumers involved in smart grid education and use, “to give consumers the freedom to choose their level of involvement and to ensure data privacy and protection.”